10 Best Scuba BCDs For 2022

Brian Young  · min rEAD

Choosing the right Scuba BCD, or Buoyance Control Device is crucial to having a great dive. Having a BCD with the right fit and features can help you become a more confident, comfortable, and efficient diver. Learning such little details as where your pockets and D-rings are, how exactly your weight system works, etc. will add to your safety and overall enjoyment during the dive.

In this guide, we ranked and reviewed the 10+ best scuba BCD, along with our top 5 choices, and buying guide to help you pick the best one for you.

Our Pick For Top 5 Scuba BCD's in 2022

Best Overall

Scubapro Hydros Pro BCD Side View

Scubapro Hydros Pro

● Rugged Durable Design
● Modular and Customizable
●Great for Travel & Local Diving
● Comfortable Fit

Best for Travel

Cressi Travelight BCD

Cressi Travelight

● Lightweight jacket-style
● Folds easy for traveling
● Weight Integrated
● Plenty of storage

Best for Budget

Cressit Start 2.0 Right Side

Cressi Start Pro

● Affordable Price Point
● Simple weight integration
● Cleary Marked Size
● 2 Cargo Pockets

Best for Beginners

Sherwood Avid BCD Side View

Shearwood Avid

● Jacket Style for Stability
● Easy-to-use weight integration
● Comfortable fit
● Prevent Sqeezing

Best for Women

Aqua Lung Pearl Side View

Aqua Lung Pearl

● Female Specific Fit & Design
● Weight integration
● Comfortable fit
● Two Large, Lobe Pockets

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Your Scuba BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) allows you to adjust buoyancy throughout the dive as well as hold your dive kit together.

It basically allows you to safely ascend and descend from your dive. It also helps maintain neutral buoyancy and keeps you streamlined, preventing you from crashing into the bottom or coral.  That’s why it’s an important piece of dive equipment and consider to be part of the core dive gear.

BCDs aren’t cheap and come in different styles, sizes, and features to choose from.

So, how do you know what’s the best Scuba BCD for you?

We have done most of the work for you and created this guide to help you make the right choice, as well as a comparison chart and review of the best models.

What Is The Best Scuba BCD?


The best scuba BCD for you will significantly depend on your diving style, skill level, and where you will be doing most of your diving. For this reason, we have organized our reviews by styles to make your choice a lot easier to find the BCD that right for you. 

If you’re still unsure what to look for in a new BCD, read our detailed buying guide below. 

Best Jacket-Style BCD

This is the most popular style for recreational diving. It fits more like a vest and inflates in the rear, side, and front. This makes them very stable on the surface and very comfortable underwater.  Below are our best picks for the best Jacket-Style BCD

Cressi Start Pro 2.0 BCD

Cressi Start 2.0 BCD Front and Back

Our Score:

4.3/5

Manufacturer: Cressi

Key Features

● Affordable Price Point
● Simple weight integration
● Cleary Marked Size
● 2 Cargo Pockets

Design

A fairly lightweight and highly adjustable design makes for a comfortable fit while still being very durable. The Jacket Style BCD also provides excellent stability on the surface.

Functionality

This BCD works great for recreational diving with ample storage and D-Rings for accessories. However, it may lack the weight and lift capacity needed for more professional diving.

Ease of Use

The inflator hose fits comfortably in your hand and allows you to easily fine-tune your buoyancy, while the placement of dump valves makes it easy to dump air in any position.

Cost

The Cressi Start Pro 2.0 has an MSRP of under $400, which is a great price for all of the features it offers. It is perfect for beginners looking for an affordable system. Great value for the money.

Where to Buy:

Cressit Start 2.0 Right Side

Get a great deal on the Cressi Start Pro 2.0  at these recommend retailers:

Summary:
The Cressi Start Pro 2.0 is a great jacket-style entry-level BCD that is designed for fairly basic recreational diving needs. It is low-cost and very affordable, yet it still features a high level of durability, comfort, and adjustability you would expect for a top-of-the-line BCD. Seasoned divers looking for a budget-friendly option will also enjoy the stability of a jacket style BC and the convenience of the weight integration system.

Read Full Review

Oceanic Oceanpro BCD

Oceanic Oceanpro BCD Front and Back

Our Score:

4.4/5

Manufacturer: Oceanic

Key Features

● Simple, Minimalist Design
● Weight Integrated with Handle
● Padded for comfortable Fit
● 2 rear Trim Pockets

Design

Utilizing a classic jacket style for recreational diving, it focuses mostly on the rental and entry-level market giving it a minimalist, simple, and rugged design.

Functionality

More than enough lift and weight capacity for recreational diving. Plenty of D-rings to clip on your accessories, and 2 large zipper pockets can easily secure small loose items and are easily accessible.

Ease of Use

The inflator fits into your hand comfortably and allows you to easily make precise buoyancy adjustments. 3 strategically placed dump valves also allow you to dump air in any position. Weight pockets are simple to install and can easily be dumped in an emergency.

Cost

The Oceanic Oceanpro is one of the more affordable weight-integrated BCDs on the market. It's a great choice for those who want all the features of a high-end BCD without the high price tag.

Where to Buy:

Oceanic Oceanpro BCD

Get a great deal on the Oceanic Oceanpro  at these recommend retailers:

Summary:
The Oceanic Oceanpro BCD has a rugged, simple design that is perfect for recreational diving. It is comfortable to wear and has plenty of lift and weight capacity. The BCD also has trim pockets to help you achieve proper balance underwater. The only downside to this BCD is that it is on the heavier side and might be too basic for more advanced diving. Overall, the Oceanic Oceanpro BCD is a great choice for those who want a durable, feature-packed BCD at an affordable price.

Read Full Review

Sherwood Avid BCD

Sherwood Avid 700 BCD

Our Score:

4.3/5

Manufacturer: Sherwood Scuba

Key Features

● Jacket Style for Stability
● Easy-to-use weight integration
● Comfortable fit
● Prevent Sqeezing when Inflated

Design

The jacket-style design gives Avid a sleek look and superior comfort in the water. The neoprene padded neck roll and 3D air cell bladder provide a comfortable diving experience.

Functionality

There are plenty of D-rings and pockets to hold all your scuba accessories. With plenty of lift and weight capacity for most recreational diving, the trim weight pockets are a nice addition.

Ease of Use

The CQR-3 integrated weight system is easy to use and the dump valves are conveniently placed for easy inflation and deflation.

Cost

The Sherwood Avid BCD is a great value for the money. Its feature-rich design makes it a good choice for both beginner and experienced divers alike.

Where to Buy:

Sherwood Avid BCD Side View

Get a great deal on the Sherwood Avid  at these recommend retailers:

Summary:
The Sherwood Avid BC is a high-quality, comfortable, and stable BC that is perfect for live-aboard diving. The CQR-3 weight system makes it easy to add and remove weights, and the secure integrated weight pockets keep them in place. With its padded neck roll and hydrodynamic jacket style bladder, the Avid provides a comfortable fit that eliminates chaffing and irritation. A great choice if you do a lot of repetitive recreational diving.

Read Full Review

Aqua Lung Pearl BCD

Aqua Lung Pearl Reivew

Our Score:

4.3/5

Manufacturer: Aqua Lung

Key Features

● Womenspecific design &fit
● 2 large zipper pockets
● Comfortable fit
● Octo Pocket

Design

The Aqua Lung pearl is a well-designed BCD that fits the contours of a woman's body perfectly. The adjustable chest strap is a great feature for women with different-sized busts.

Functionality

This BCD is packed with features that make it perfect for diving, such as weight integration, an Octo pocket, and D-rings for attaching accessories. The Aqua Lung pearl is extremely comfortable to wear, even during long dives.

Ease of Use

The Aqua Lung pearl is easy to use and adjust. The weight pockets are easy to access and the D-rings are conveniently located.

Cost

The Aqua Lung pearl is a very affordable BCD, which makes it a great value for the features and quality it offers.

Where to Buy:

Aqua Lung Pearl Side View

Get a great deal on the Aqua Lung Pearl  at these recommend retailers:

Summary:
The Aqua Lung pearl is a great choice for women divers who are looking for a BCD that is specifically designed to fit their body type. It is made from durable materials and features a number of key technologies weight integration, an Octo pocket, and D-rings for attaching accessories that make it an ideal choice for divers of all levels. The Aqua Lung pearl is also very affordable, making it a great value for the money.

Read Full Review

Best Back-Inflated BCD

Back-inflated BCDs generally referred to as wing BCDs, come with an air bladder that inflates only in the back on either side of the tank —  resembling wings. These are more streamlined and provide better horizontal positioning underwater, but are not very stable on the surface. These are more preferred by advanced recreational divers and technical divers for their incredible lift capacity and freedom of movement.  Below is our pick of the best Back-Inflated BCD on the market today. 

Zeagle Stiletto BCD

Zeagle Stiletto BCD Front and Back

Our Score:

4.6/5

Manufacturer:  Zeagle

Key Features

● Durable and Rugged
● Lightweight, yet full-featured
● Detachable Inflater System
● Dumpable Trip Pocket

Design

The Zeagle Stiletto BCD is made to be super tough yet lightweight enough to compete with other travel BCDs.

Functionality

It offers a great deal of lift and weight capacity. Thanks to its fully adjustable straps, ergonomic nature, and lightweight design, it's also very comfortable.

Ease of Use

The inflator system is very user-friendly and dump valves are well placed for best performance. Easy to pack for tavel.

Cost

The Zeagle Stiletto BCD comes in at a very reasonable price, maybe just a bit expensive, but not overly so. It offers great value for the price.

Where to Buy:

Zeagle Stiletto Front

Get a great deal on the Zeagle Stiletto  at these recommend retailers:

Summary:
The Zeagle Stiletto is a great mid-to-high-end back-inflated BCD that's great for both warm and temperate diving. Although it does not have all the features for more technical diving it still has more than significant lift and weight capacity for pretty much any recreational diving. While it's designed to be rugged, it is still lightweight and packs easily for traveling. This is an excellent choice if you're looking for a BCD that's great for both travel and local diving

Read Full Review

Scubapro Hydros Pro BCD

Scubapro Hydros Pro BCD Review

Our Score:

4.8/5

Manufacturer: Scubapro

Key Features

● Rugged Durable Design
● Modular and Customizable
● Great for Travel and Local Diving
● Comfortable Fit

Design

A modular design allows Hydros pro to be very versatile, it works great as a travel BCD or for diving locally. The ability to customize it to your own diving needs is a huge selling point. The neoprene construction also makes the Hydros pro extremely durable and resistant to wear and tear.

Functionality

The back wing design keeps you nice and horizontal in the water and also does not trap air in the bladder like some other back plate and wing BDC. The integrated weight system and trim pockets make it easy to adjust your buoyancy on the fly.

Ease of Use

The power inflator is easy to use and allows you to precisely add air to your BCD. The dump valves are easy to locate when you need to quickly dump air. Fitting the BCD onto a dive tank is also very quick and easy with Scubapro's Cinch Cam Band.

Cost

The hydros pro is not the cheapest BCD on the market. However, if you're looking for a top-of-the-line BCD with premium materials then this BCD is for you. Also, with its rock-solid durability, you won't have to replace this BCD anytime soon.

Where to Buy:

Scubapro Hydros Pro BCD Side View

Get a great deal on the Scubapro Hydros Pro  at these recommend retailers:

Summary:
The Scubapro Hydros Pro BCD is a top-of-the-line modular black-inflated BCD that makes it easy to replace components to change how it weighs and functions. It can either be a tough, weight-integrated BCD or lightweight enough to be packed for travel. It also features a flexible harness made from a monoplane which can mold and holds its position while being tough as neals.

Read Full Review

Best BCD for Travel

These BCDs are designed explicitly for the traveling diver. They are generally made from lighter materials, dry fast, and are designed to be able to pack easily. In order, to make them lighter and more compact they might lack some features and comfort.

Aqualung Zuma BCD

Aqualung Zuma BCD

Our Score:

4.0/5

Manufacturer: Aqua Lung

Key Features

● Ultra Lightweight
● Folds easy for traveling
● Affordable Price Point
● Streamline Back-Inflated Design

Design

It's specifically designed for the traveling diver. It rolls up like a sleeping bag, is incredibly lightweight, and fits in carry-on Luggage. However, it doesn't have a lot of features for more advanced diving.

Functionality

The shoulder straps are comfortable and adjustable, so you can find the perfect fit for your body. A valve strop keeps the dive tank close to the body and helps prevent shifting during the dive. Adequate lift and weight capacity for recreational diving in worm tropical water.

Ease of Use

Three dump valves allow buoyancy adjustments in almost any orientation. The weights pouches are simple to install and ditch in an emergency. The pockets are easily accessible and the D-rings are easy to locate.

Cost

The Aqualung Zuma BCD is a great value for money, with all the features you need as a traveling diver. Set at a price point that won't break the bank, it's a great BC for those looking for their first travel BC.

Where to Buy:

AquaLung Zuma Side View

Get a great deal on the Aqualung Zuma  at these recommend retailers:

Summary:
The Aqua Lung Zuma is a great lightweight BC for travel. It can be easily packed and is comfortable to wear. The integrated weight pockets make it easy to adjust your weight, and the six D-rings provide plenty of storage options. The fold-down cargo pocket is also handy for storing small accessories. Overall, the Aqua Lung Zuma is a great BC for divers who travel and need a lightweight option that is comfortable and easy to use.

Read Full Review

Scubapro Go BCD

Scubapro Go Travel BCD

Our Score:

4.0/5

Manufacturer: Scubapro

Key Features

● Lightweight & durable construction
● Pack easily for travel
● Hinge Inflator button
● High buoyancy & Maximum Comfort

Design

The Scubapro Go BCD is a jacket-style travel BCD that is comfortable and stable at depth. It is also lightweight and easy to pack, yet still full-featured to be used for local diving in warm to temperate waters.

Functionality

Plenty of lift, especially for a BC that's designed for traveling. Great weight capacity for recreational diving, especially in the warm water of the tropics, but no trip pocket. However, it might be too basic for more technical and cold water diving

Ease of Use

The Go is easy to use with its well-placed dump valves and integrated weight system. Zipper Pockets are easily accessible and keep items secure. The hinged inflator button allows you to be precise when adding air to the BC.

Cost

The Scubapro Go BCD is very fairly priced for all the features and quality you get. It is on the higher end of the price range but is worth the investment.

Where to Buy:

Scubapro Go Front View

Get a great deal on the Scubapro Go  at these recommend retailers:

Summary:
The Scubapro Go is an excellent travel BC for divers who prefer Jacket-style BC. It's lightweight and easily folds into its own traveling bag. Yet, it is still full-featured and excellent for warm water but can also be used for temperate water diving. A great choice for divers who wants one BC for diving at home and on vacation.

Read Full Review

Cressi Travelight BCD

Cressi Travelight BCD Folded Carrying bag

Our Score:

4.5/5

Manufacturer: Cressi

Key Features

● Lightweight jacket-style
● Folds easy for traveling
● Weight Integrated
● Plenty of storage

Design

Made from lightweight but durable materials. Also, folds up small and is lightweight in your luggage. A great travel BCD that does not sacrifice important features.

Functionality

The jacket-Style design provides stability on the surface while the weight in the trim pockets help keeps you upright. The integrated weight system also provides easy buoyancy control.

Ease of Use

Integrated weight pockets slide in easily and click securely in place. Dump valves are also easily accessible to dump air in any dive position. The inflator is compact and easy to use.

Cost

It comes in at a great price for the features it offers. Compared to other travel BCDs with the same features(Scubapro Go BCD), the Travelight BCD is about $100 to $200 cheaper.

Where to Buy:

Cressi Travelight BCD

Get a great deal on the Cressi Travelight  at these recommend retailers:

Summary:
The Cressi Travelight BCD is a great choice for traveling divers who need a lightweight and compact BC that still has all the bells and whistles of a full-featured BCD. It's made from durable materials and folds up small for easy transport. Available at an attractive price point, it's a great choice for almost any recreational diver. There is also a specialized fit for women divers too.

Read Full Review

Scubapro Litehawk BCD

Scubapro Litehawk Travel BCD

Our Score:

3.8/5

Manufacturer: Scubapro

Key Features

● Minimalist Travel BCD
● Lightweight & Streamline Design
● Flat and Compact for Packing
● Adjustable Belt-Style Waist

Design

It's designed to be very user-friendly and durable. However, a minimalistic design makes it only ideal for traveling and diving in warm water.

Functionality

It is certainly easy to use and functions great as travel BC, but its minimal lift capacity limits the BC to diving in warm water only.

Ease of Use

Adjusting the BCD is simple and easy to get a proper fit. The power inflator makes sit easy to add and remove air from the BCD and the dup values are easily located.

Cost

The price tag here is not horrible, but all things considered, based on the feature set, it could be a bit more affordable.

Where to Buy:

Scubapro Litehawk BC

Get a great deal on the Scubapro Litehawk  at these recommend retailers:

Summary:
The Scubapro Lighthawk is a lightweight travel BCD that dries quickly and lays flat and compact for packing. Yet it still features sufficient padding for comfort, as well as shoulder and weight adjustments for a customizable fit. This is a great choice if you travel a lot for diving, or do a lot of diving in warm tropical waters.

Read Full Review

How to Choose the Best Scuba BCD in 2022

Buying a new BCD can be daunting at first glance. There is a lot to consider when choosing the BCD that’s right for you. A few things you would want to consider are your budget, the style that works best for your type of diving, weight capacity, lift capacity, fit, and comfort.  

Types of BCD

There are basically 3 different styles of BCD. There is no right or wrong style.  The one you choose will depend on your level of diving and personal preference.

Jacket-Style BCD – This is the most common style of BCD. When inflated it wraps air around your waist, back, and shoulder. They are very stable on the surface of the water, making them a great choice for beginner divers. However, an improper fit can cause squeezing when overinflated. 

Back-Inflated BCDs – As the name implies. Only an air balder on the back is inflated, which frees up space in the front allowing the diver to move more freely when fully inflated. While they are great at keeping you horizontal underwater, on the surface it can be difficult to stay vertical when inflated. These are great for more advanced diving or those transitioning over to technical diving. 

Back Plate and Winged BCDs – These styles of BCD are generally preferred by technical divers but are now rising in popularity among recreational divers. They are modular allowing you to customize your BCD to the type of diving you will be doing. They are also able to accommodate multiple dive cylinders and allow you to choose an infinite combination between the back-plate and wing system.  

Other Style of BCDs

Sidemount – Evolving from cave diving, Sidemount diving has recently become popular. It allows you to carry your dive tanks on your side or under your arms. They are very popular with technical divers because it allows you to get into tight spaces. It’s also great for divers with a bad back because it shifts all the weight from the back to the sides.  

Women’s BCD – As more women because divers, manufactures are now designing BCDs that specifically contours to the female body.  These are generally smaller, lighter, and the shoulder straps tend to curve away from the chest or completely removed.  The overall length of the back is also reduced so the dive tank does not rest on the base of the spine. 

Travel BCD – For the intrepid explorer, these are lightweight and can be packed down small, however, they are not as durable as standard BCs as the material used is a lot lighter than the normal ones. The material is robust enough for regular use though, and it is super easy to pack. Just bear in mind that you won’t be able to carry lots of extra weights and most travel BCDs don’t have enough pockets or clips to carry much extra equipment, so if you are a diver who likes their accessories, then perhaps this is not a great choice for you!

Lift Capacity

Now that you’ve decided which style works best for your type of diving. You need to know if your BCD will have enough lift capacity to keep you floating on the surface while wearing all your dive gear. For recreational diving, most BCDs have enough lift capacity to keep you on the surface. However,  when you start to dive with multiple cylinders and extra tools for commercial or technical diving, you will require extra lift.

Fit and Comfort

A BCD should fit you like a comfortably–fitting coat; it should allow you to move freely without binding or slipping.

The ideal BCD fit includes:

  • Snug, but not tight around your mid-section and arms/shoulders
  • Straps should cinch across your body comfortably, but shouldn’t have slop or feel constrictive
  • Hoses and valves should be easily accessible and within reach.

Integrated Weights

This allows you to take your dive weights in pouches and install them directly onto your BCD. This means you don’t have to wear a separate dive belt with weights strapped around your waist. Most integrated weight systems as designed to be easily dumped in case of an emergency. 

Trim Weight Pockets

These are generally located at the back of the BCD on either side of the cylinder. These allow you to move some weights away from the front and distribute them around the BCD to get a nice horizontal position underwater.

Pockets

You also want to make sure that your BCD has enough pockets for the dive that you will be doing. If you’re planning on doing most of your diving in tropical waters, one or two pockets will be okay to carry things like your Fish ID and sales. For diving in colder water or technical diving, you will probably want to carry more equipment that might not be able to fit in one or two pockets. That’s where D-Rings come in. 

Number of D-Rings

D-rings are used to attach and carry additional dive gear to your BCD, like SMBs and reel or spare mask. Basically, stuff that you cannot always fit in a tight pocket.  D-rings over your shoulders are often pre-bent outwards to make attaching clips much easier, while does near the waits normally are straight and lay flat against the BCD.

 

How to Maintain Your BCD?

  1. 1
     Be sure to rinse your BCD though with fresh water after every use. You should rinse outside as well as flush out the inside.
  2. 2
     You should let the BCD dry completely after rinsing. Keep it out of directly sunlight and heat as much as possible.
  3. 3
    Store away in a cool dry place partially inflated.  Remember to remove all the weights from the pockets.

What is your favorite BCD?

Do you have a favorite BCD? What do you like about it? Let us know in the comments below. 


About the author

Dorian has been a divemaster for the past 5 years. He is enthusiastic about sharing his love for scuba diving with others and does this by writing destination and product reviews, as well as tips and tricks he has learned throughout the year.


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